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IUCr 1993 Triennial Report - ICSU Committee on the Teaching of Science (CTS)

A meeting of the ICSU Committee on the Teaching of Science (CTS) was held at the ICSU Headquarters in Paris, France, 1-2 May 1991, chaired by D. Waddington, University of York, Chairman of the CTS. The Secretary is J. P. Stoltman. Representatives from the constituent Unions of ICSU were present. The stated aims of this Commission are:

(1) To further on an international scale progress in the teaching of science at all levels.

(2) To cooperate with other organizations in order to further any aspects of the teaching of science.

(3) To facilitate cooperation between the Teaching Commissions of the International Scientific Unions.

It was very useful to find out how Teaching Commissions of other Unions disseminate information.

The International Geosphere-Biosphere Program has inspired CTS to initiate a curriculum development programme entitled Education in Global Change for 16- to 19-year-old science students. In this project, current global change issues are used to introduce and illustrate scientific principles. Teaching material is being prepared in a form that is readily available to all who need it. The four initial units of the project, drafted at a meeting of science educators in May 1990, involve the changing atmosphere, remote sensing (a window on global change), the global carbon cycle, and clues from the past and glimpses of our future. Material prepared on these subjects is currently under review. Additional subjects under consideration are land and ocean surface effects on global change, the stratosphere and energy cycles.

The Harare Generator Project was designed to bring African teachers together with experts in curriculum design and materials production in order to provide materials appropriate for teaching science in African Schools. Video and printed materials will be used as a pre-service teacher-training module. A meeting on the subject of this project, held at the University of Zimbabwe in January 1991, was described. A follow-up study of this project will be made in the near future.

A Project on Informatics and Microcomputers is in progress and a manuscript, nine chapters long with an appendix listing software reviews, lists of books and software listings, has been prepared and three volunteers for the CTS (representing IUPAP, ICASE and IUPS) will read and comment on this. A project in University Science Teaching is progressing. The biology project is complete, printed and distributed. The chemistry component is almost complete. Interest continues on the production of inexpensive computing equipment, especially for laboratory instruction in the developing countries. A compilation of existing low-cost and locally produced laboratory equipment available worldwide and adapted to science teaching in a developing world is being prepared with input from the various Unions. The Sub-committee for Elementary Science has completed a draft of a publication entitled Science and Mathematics Education for Future Elementary School Teachers.

In a report on Teaching about Ethical Issues, it was pointed out that the way that different cultures view science is an important issue and affects the development of and attention to ethics in science education.

New initiatives include:

(1) Leadership Workshops for implementing the Education in Global Change classroom materials in South Asia, Francophone Africa and Latin America.

(2) The Education in Natural Disasters Reduction Project will provide a handbook on natural disaster reduction through science education.

(3) CTS has participated in the Conference on Environment and Development (1992) and co-sponsored the Space Science Project for Teachers of Science (1992) and the UNESCO Conference on Science Education for All (1993).

The next meeting will be held 4 July 1993. At this time the restructuring of CTS within ICSU (new name, new charge etc.) will be discussed.

6 April 1993                                J. P. GLUSKER, Representative

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